Spreading the good word!

Home now after a long drive home from Melbourne after presenting at the Telstra Dome today.

How do I feel? 

Relieved for one. Glad that SlideRocket came through and worked without the slightest problem. Hopeful that what I said struck a chord with some people. Hopeful that people didn’t leave feeling like it is all too hard to make this shift. Hopeful that some in the audience were inspired by Will Richardson who delivers the message so well.   

Thrilled to have met some of my Twitter friends. Jo McLeay was wonderful – she participated in the chat room on Ustream and helped people understand the context of slides when they couldn’t hear audio. She’s just tweeted with a link to my presentation that she recorded on ustream – how incredibly kind of her to do this – my recording didn’t work. Anne MirschtinJess McCulloch and John Pearce were there and it was  wonderful to make contact.

Equally thrilled to have some of my O/S twitter buddies participate in the ustream chat. A special thank you to Dennis Richards who emailed me with the transcript of the chat so that I could see the reactions of the watchers to what I was presenting. Some of the others in the room were Carolyn Foote, Mark Spahr, Dean Groom (I think?) Peggy George and connected geek (don’t know their real name!) Carolyn Foote tuned in just as I was showing the slide with her blog post on it. Freaky huh! Mark Spahr was great trying to help me out before the presentation began with the video camera I was using – it was operating in demo mode. He had the instruction book open at his house in Maine and was trying to figure out how to fix it. How cool is that! Help from Maine USA to Melbourne Australia. The audience could see the tweets coming through – a brilliant visual example of how this network operates and the supportive environment that it is.

I’m very tired -the result of the six hours I spent last night fixing up the SlideRocket presentation. Worth it. The effective transitions you can use made an impact. All that effort with the slides was also worth it – quite a few people have requested that I upload them to Slideshare. Not sure if I can upload from SlideRocket – may have to upload the PowerPoint – same slides. I’ll get it done tomorrow – way too tired right now!! 

Presentation tomorrow!

For those of you who’ve been reading, you’ll be aware that tomorrow I will be presenting at the SLAV conference in Melbourne. Susan Bentley, the Elibrarian who I work with, is presenting with me. It’s a big deal for me, largely because I am charged with the task of switching on a group of teachers and teacher-librarians to the idea that adopting a Web 2.0 approach to their teaching and school library practice is a vital thing to be doing. It’s also an opportunity to be inspired once again by the words of Will Richardson and see the effect his words can have on the participants. I’ve said many times before, one of the turning points in my adoption (transformation!?) came when I attended a 5 hour workshop run by Will at the Expanding Learning Horizons conference in August last year. Hopefully we’ll see him have that same effect tomorrow.

I made a PowerPoint for the presentation and have spent a considerable amount of time putting it together. I’ve been inspired by the words of Garr Reynolds in his presentation to Google staff and will be interested to see if his philosophy plays out for the audience I’m addressing. Susan and I presented this to our staff on Thursday and got a good reception so all should be well. The other exciting, but complicating thing, has been that I scored an invite to SlideRocket after I posted a plea on their blog when I realised they had sent out 500 invites and I didn’t get one. This is a presentation tool that allows you to do some pretty cool things with your slides and your presentations are stored online. When I imported the PowerPoint into SlideRocket I had problems with text overlays on my slides – it ‘s taken me ages to figure out how to address this and I’ve still got problems with my text not transferring over when I cache the presentation. Looks like I’ll be hard at it tonight trying to sort this one out. The great thing is that you can cache your presentation to your hard drive in an offline feature they offer. I’m doing this to avoid loading problems I may have tomorrow if the bandwith is not so good. Of course, you can’t expect things to go smoothly.   Ever.   I’d really like to use it as it’s a great example of the new tools becoming available, and how you can get things happening for yourself in this world if you are active and ask questions. If need be I’ll just revert to the original Powerpoint – no need worrying – just gotta go with the flow!    

My other charge is to ustream the presentation. I have a channel and am taking a video camera and tripod so that I can get it out to the world. Another great example of how to use these tools to best effect.  You can watch it on ustream at 11.30 tomorrow here. I, of course, will be delivering the presentation so won’t be able to participate in the chat room but I hope some of you do. I’d be interested in getting some feedback so please post a comment to let me know what you thought- I’m tough, can handle criticism, so let fly! (doesn’t mean I won’t be curling up in a foetal position tomorrow night if all goes wrong – you may never hear from me again!!)

I’ll be uploading the presentation to Slideshare and will post a link to it once I’ve got the thing sorted – hope it doesn’t take all night.

Dean Groom has written a good post today in response to the Web 2.0 conference that took place this week in Sydney. Read it. He articulates well the frustration felt by many who have made the shift and are trying to convince others of the need for change. We can’t give up  -we need to be the evangelists leading the flock!! 

School’s out Friday

This post is dedicated to Lindsea. In a presentation I am making on Monday I’m using Lindsea as an example of the kind of learning that is possible now that the walls are down and we can reach out and make contact. She has been an inspiration to me and my students – I hope you read this Lindsea and realise the difference you have made. This is Lindsea’s favourite video on YouTube – she posted a link to it on Twitter last night. I was watching and noticing Lindsea as I always do when I see your name. Thanks.

Cognitive surplus – that’s what I had (until I started writing this blog!)

Clay Shirky, author of ‘Here comes everybody’ recently presented at Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. It’s a presentation to watch and absorb and think about.  So much of what he had to say resonated for me. He talked of cognitive surplus; the idea of utilising free time productively rather than masking the cognitive surplus to engage in tasks like watching television. I feel like I am using my cognitive surplus to the max right now. Television hardly factors into my day anymore – I’m much more interested in expanding my learning via this online environment.

Clay makes reference to his childhood and the countless times he watched re-runs of Gilligan’s island – he muses how this time could have been utilised differently.  I can only concur. I’d have to add The Brady Bunch to the mix as well. The hours spent in childhood dedicated to re-runs was time wasting at its best.

He recounts a discussion with a TV producer about the cognitive surplas required to amass the pages;

So how big is that surplus? So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project–every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in–that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it’s the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.

And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that’s 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads.  

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Just what are we capable of achieving, if we can channel some of that time into the generation of new ideas rather than the passive pursuit of television watching? Watch the video or read the transcript from Clay’s blog – you won’t be passively watching – your mind will be ticking over with the ideas he presents and I’ll bet he’ll be dinner conversation in quite a few households. (maybe even a few staffrooms!) 

Thanks to Dean Shareski for pointing me to Clay’s blog via Twitter.

Ergo – State Library of Victoria helping us out

The State Library of Victoria has recently released Ergo, a site designed to assist students with skills needed for research, essay writing and study skills. This is what they say on their front page;

When it comes to assignments and exams, it’s good to know how to make your work stand out from the crowd. That’s where ergo can help. This practical guide to research, essay writing and studying shows you how to find resources, write great essays and prepare for exams. It also has a huge range of original documents and images you can use. ergo helps you make your work the best it can be.

There are some wonderful resources for students studying bushrangers, exploration, Aboriginal, women’s and worker’s rights as well as colonial Melbourne. I’m going to find the essay writing and study skills information very handy with my classes. Great to see our State Library connecting with students and teachers in such a useful way. Well worth bookmarking.

Wikis – Susan shows you how.

Susan Bentley is the eLibrarian at the school I work at. It’s great having her on staff – in her role she is responsible for maintaining our Library’s online presence. I first heard the word Web 2.0 from Susan I think, so I have a lot to thank her for as I now bask in this Web 2.0 world!

Susan has been busy this year creating Wikis for classroom use. We used to create pathfinders to support curriculum – these were static pages with links to web pages and items available in our Library, but no-one could add to the page other than Susan. Now we’ve moved these pathfinders over to  Wikis and have been introducing them to staff and students. Two of the best working Wikis operate at Yr 11 for Legal Studies and Literature. In these Wikis students have a page each within the Wiki and use this to post responses and upload interesting links or videos they find. I introduced the Wiki to an International studies class last week and received a wonderful reaction from one of the sudents. I could see her eyes widening as she realised the possibilities of this as a tool for learning. She came to see me the next day for some advice on how to link to her page from the home page. She had uploaded numerous YouTube videos about Rwanda and wanted to be able to share her knowledge with her peers. It was exciting to see her enthusiasm – a great reminder to me as to why these are such enabling tools that should be utilised for learning. She’d even gone home to show her Mother what was now possible. This is girl headed off to Uni next year now armed with a powerful realisation of how to use Web 2.0 for collaboration.

Susan is presenting with me next week and has uploaded a presentation to Slideshare about how to create a Wiki using PB wiki – she has lots of good ideas so take a look.